Did FIFA 2014 help India.com beat Indiatimes on Total Unique Visitors?

India.com, which, has been around and working at making it — literally — big in user numbers on ComScore, has finally flashed a paid ad campaign on afaqs.com, quoting ComScore numbers that peg it marginally ahead of Indiatimes.com.

The numbers proffered by India.com peg its Total Unique Visitors at roughly two million. This puts India.com only slightly ahead of Indiatimes.com’s approximately 18000000 Total Unique Visitors, in what should be less than a 2-week period, across  approximately six whole months (See grab below).


A wafer-thin lead, in a tiny time window, and a portal rushes out with an ad  flyer. But then, that’s how difficult good news by way of stronger numbers for a David is  to come by, and it must rush to tell the (media-buying) world, and understandably, before Indiatimes.com uses the phenomenal might of the TOI Group to push up the numbers. And you will remember it’s been among the Top 20 portals of India

From where did India.com get the numbers? Well, in the period they’re happy and ad-flashing about, one big differentiator is the first storey of their home page.

But the bigger story here is, what did India.com do to make sure it kept growing uninterrupted and at a decent rate from mid-December 2013 to end-March 2014, after which it sort of plateaued during April 2014, and then leapfrogged to surpass Indiatimes.com to reach the numbers where Indiatimes was in mid-December 2013, when this comparison per the ad flash began?

And what did Indiatimes.com do wrong to  dip.  How did India.com get the numbers? Because Indiatimes.com’s dip was much smaller than India.com’s gian. So did the market grow? From where and how did India.com find numbers big enough for this chest-thumping, and will they remain? While time will answer the last question, I’ll try and get some to the remaining.

Was it FIFA 2014?

From where did India.com get the numbers? Well, in the period they’re happy and ad-flashing about, one big differentiator is the first storey of their home page.

See how prominently, and beautifully India.com has laid out its FIFA 2014 Updates and Results spreads, match-wise.


I wouldn’t be surprised if India.com got its biggest chunk of incremental hits and Unique Visitors in the form of Football fans., who I believe are a largely male audience. So, given its otherwise balanced approach of a judicious mix of hard news and soft features, India.com should continue to interest and engage its male users, and will retain  them even when FIFA 2014 is over (after, my guess is, a European team takes on Brazil in the final, but that’s another story :)

For some strange reason, Indiatimes.com has persisted with the news sense of a light, gossippy, lifestyle-and-entertainment kind. FIFA 2013, meanwhile, is cued just via a paid ad banner at the lower end of the first storey.


For now, just wanted to congratulate India.com for its numbers, and for the alacrity with which they rushed out to tell the world. After all, as I said above,  Indiatimes.com is certainly no pushover, so one will watch the battle as it unfolds.



Eargasm of the Day – Dark Sax

Pavan R Chawla:

Take a break with this cool, rakishly-rough-around-the-edges Saxophone instrumental, adeptly played by Carl Catron, and shared by audiophile fellow-blogger and musician-composer James L Revells III (you’ll like his FB Page, here: https://www.facebook.com/jlriiicomposer) has shared. You’ll want to follow James’ blog too (http://audiosexxx.com/).


Originally posted on Audio SeXXX:

I met this guy, Carl Catron on Facebook while I was snooping around the groups and he can play a sax with feeling. I’m just going to let this man and his sax do the talking. with out further ado. Carl Catron.

Support his campaign and donate here for his performances and music videos. http://www.patreon.com/carlcatron

View original

Facebook attacked for emotion study


Facebook is at it again,  earning censure.

Here’s what the BBC reported this morning:

Facebook is facing criticism after it emerged it had conducted a psychology experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their knowledge.

The test saw Facebook “manipulate” news feeds to control which emotional expressions the users were exposed to.

Facebook said it conducted the study to gauge users’ response to content

The research was done in collaboration with two US universities to gauge if “exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviours”.

Facebook said there was “no unnecessary collection of people’s data”.

“None of the data used was associated with a specific person’s Facebook account,” the social networking giant added.

Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were involved in the study.

Ability to manipulate?

But some have criticised the way the research was conducted and raised concerns over the impact such studies could have.

“Let’s call the Facebook experiment what it is: a symptom of a much wider failure to think about ethics, power and consent on platforms,” Kate Crawford posted on Twitter.

Lauren Weinstein tweeted: “Facebook secretly experiments on users to try make them sad. What could go wrong?”

Meanwhile, Labour MP Jim Sheridan, a member of the Commons media select committee has called for an investigation into the matter.

“This is extraordinarily powerful stuff and if there is not already legislation on this, then there should be to protect people,” he was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper.

“They are manipulating material from people’s personal lives and I am worried about the ability of Facebook and others to manipulate people’s thoughts in politics or other areas.

“If people are being thought-controlled in this kind of way there needs to be protection and they at least need to know about it.”

However, Katherine Sledge Moore, a psychology professor at Elmhurst College, Illinois, said: “Based on what Facebook does with their newsfeed all of the time and based on what we’ve agreed to by joining Facebook, this study really isn’t that out of the ordinary.”

“The results are not even that alarming or exciting.”

‘Very sorry’

The research was conducted on 689,000 Facebook users over a period of one week in 2012.

According to the report on the study: “The experiment manipulated the extent to which people were exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed”.

The study found that users who had fewer negative stories in their news feed were less likely to write a negative post, and vice versa.

Adam Kramer of Facebook, who co-authored the report on the research, said: “We felt that it was important to investigate the common worry that seeing friends post positive content leads to people feeling negative or left out”.

“At the same time, we were concerned that exposure to friends’ negativity might lead people to avoid visiting Facebook.”

However, he admitted that the firm did not “clearly state our motivations in the paper”.

“I can understand why some people have concerns about it, and my co-authors and I are very sorry for the way the paper described the research and any anxiety it caused.” (BBC © 2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28051930)

Is this internet services company defrauding me?

I believe this internet company, which provide services like domain registration, website hosting, business and personal email, servers et al, is defrauding me.  I won’t name this company till it blows the deadline I’ve given it to revert on my complaint sent to it through its online helpdesk submit-a-ticket window.

It’s a Delhi-based company and pretty well known too. And, as I just said, I believe it’s not been on the level with me.

Tell me if you think so too.

Here’s the complaint I sent it. I’ve edited the complaint note, and hidden any references that would help you identify the company.

Here’s what I wrote them:

(Sent to XYZcompany through its “report a problem” utility on its helpdesk section. Ticket number not yet generated. Submitted at 0130 hrs of 1 july 2014)

 Order Number: XXXXXX;

Domain: http://www.namenotprovided.com

Order Date: 24 March 2014.

Renewal Fee: INR 2259

My cyber wallet was debited this amount on: 24 March 2014.

Current status of Expiry Date of the domain: Reads as “March XX, 2015 – A renewal request is already under process”.

 I paid you 3 months back, and still, the renewal is under process.

You renewed for the first year immediately, but have chosen to keep and roll my funds for the remaining two years of domain renewal, for your own use?

So, for the two-year period of March XX 2015 to March XX  2017,  it has not been renewed although you have debited my cyber wallet by the domain renewal fee for period. So, you have  not paid the registrar for registering my domain for the second and third year. In other words, you are keeping my money in your account and rolling it. I consider this wilful financial fraud.

I demand from you the following remedial action and information, respectively, immediately. Thereafter I shall decide on what further action I may wish to take. This is without any prejudice to my rights as a consumer and a citizen:

 (i) Please credit immediately to me the cost of 2 years (from the total 3-year renewal fee of Rs 2299 that you charged me for renewing http://www.namenotprovided.com for three years ie 2015 to 2017 only ie for the second and third year of renewal) with 18% interest payable one week after the date my account was debited by you for the said amount.  ie, from XX April 2014 onwards, to date.

 (ii) Please share in writing why the two years’ domain renewal fee was debited to my account but not paid onward to the registrar for renewing my domain. Your sales person on the  national helpline told that there were “some operational issues”, and I demand to know what those issues were, in detail, and with which provider or registrar.

(iii) Please share in writing with supportings, where, precisely,  my two years domain renewal fee for http://www.namenotprovided.com (after paying the first year’s renewal amount) has been parked by you after you debited it from my account but did not remit to the onward registrar of domains, regardless of the reason.  I demand to see a paper trail of the funds, starting from the instant that they were debited from my cyber wallet under my ID 000XXXXXX.

 I had called your helpline  last week and was promised a speedy revert, but nothing has happened.

 If I do not receive a written reply from you by Wednesday the 2nd of July 2014, I shall take all necessary action that I deem fit against you, including but not limited to approaching legal and consumer courts.

Before sending you this mail, I had called your national help line at around 0005 hrs of 1 July 2014, but there was no reply, and not even a general telephone operator to speak with.


That’s the gist of my note to the company. So, are they justified in parking my money for their own use, as I am inclined to believe they’ve done?

It’s a small amount but its the principle of the thing.

Also, if they do something like this for every multiple-years-renewal — and they could have tens if not hundreds of thousands of customers, even more  — it could well add up to a large stash of idle funds for them to use and make good before the next year’s domain renewal comes up. Just my belief, this. Likely, but not confirmed, and I’d be happy to stand corrected.

So, what do you think? Let me know. Any advice, parallels, information, guidance would be welcome. Thanks.


Scholarship exam on 6 July for needy class-7-pass Indian students

Here’s your opportunity to help needy middle school level students in India.

If you have come across any bright students coming from poor
financial background who have
finished their 7th standard this
year and scored more than 80%, please ask them to contact the NGO – Indian Students Organization (Supported by Educare Club).

The NGO is conducting a written test and those who clear the test will be eligible for financial help for their further studies.

Date Of Exam-
6th July 2014

Please ask the students to contact the people mentioned below to get the form:

Indian Students Organization
B.Garaje Line, Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar,
Ghatkopar (East), Mumbai, Maharashtra,  INDIA 400075

Contact numbers:
Mr. Anil More

Sudhir Keer

Educare Club
022 2102 1516

Please post this message in the known groups so that it gets CIRCULATED. Even if you don’t know anyone, please pass on this info,  someone might be in need of this.

Thanks for your help.

Beware: Scam spam campaign using fake BBC Health website for Garcinia Cambogia

Beware of the fake news story about miracle slimming supplement  Garcinia Cambogia.  It is a scam news item on a fake BBC Health’  website.  It may reach you via any of your contacts on social media platforms like Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram,  Skype,  Pintrest or Tumblr. 


A grab of the fake BBC Health website with the scam spam

I received a mail from a dear friend in Canada,  Ash,  through his Skype account,  which had a link to the ‘news’  story published on a fake BBC Health website.

I read the story,  and was alarmed at the completely un-BBC-like editorial approach in the headline,  body copy and indeed,  overall approach.  It seemed like a complete,  shameless plug.

THE EXPOSE: So I searched the Web,  and came across an excellent story about the scam on IT Security expert Graham Cluley‘s site,  here.  An excellent story on a very good site that I recommend you read and follow respectively,  as I’ve begun doing.

THE FAKE BBC HEALTH WEBSITE: Here’s  the story on the fake BBC Health website  that your Skype or other social media account mails to all its contacts.

Open it to see how cleverly they’ve created the site.  But the sore thumb that sticks out is,  the fake website has gone and shredded every credible neutrality element that BBC news-story headlines and bodies plus story souls are known for.  But even the blatantly promotional and partisan — and therefore completely un-BBC-like — editorial approach hasn’t been a giveaway and many unsuspecting people have been duped.  So open this fake website of you are curious but be careful.   Before you do anything there,  read Graham Cluley’s expose of the fake site,  and also the comments at the end of his story. 

What’s strange is…  Shouldn’t the BBC publish an alert about this fake website, and also prosecute the perpetrators for criminal impersonation with the (proven)  intent to defraud?  That could be a surefire way to nip them.  The Beeb could also use its humongous media partners and associates to spread word about the stammers. (Hope it’s already done that and I’m just unaware of it.)

Writing with vitriol: Donald Sterling is an Idiot, but is he a Racist?

This opinion piece I read elsewhere today,  is the perfect example of what a pen dipped in vitriol spews.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like the corner this writer is in.  I too loathe anti-Semitism,  especially because it brings to mind the numbing accounts of undoubtedly the most maniacal and crazed homo-sapien (can’t call him human by any stretch of the imagination; it always snaps) Adolf Hitler.

So this piece is from jewishjournal.com and has been written by Ilana Angel.  It’s her  take on Donald Sterling, written with pep,  vim and verve.  And dripping sarcastic fury and a furious outrage.  This is how you write when you fling caution to the winds,  go completely off the middle of the road, and jettison the parachute of restraint for the kamikaze thrill of smashing your Zero into a ‘Semitist’  for  violent satisfaction.

I’m all for putting an end to any anti-Semitist thinking.  But this,  journalistic ally speaking,  is how you don’t do it;  how even the most convinced activist writer shouldn’t do it.

But see how it’s been done here.

So,  here goes:

Donald Sterling is an Idiot, but is he a Racist?

By Ilana Angel.

We live in a world that is drowning in hate and a country that is not as evolved as we think when it comes to hate based on color, religion, or politics. To say that people don’t like to talk about it would be a lie because they do like to talk about it. They just don’t want to be recorded or heard by people outside of their inner circle. Lots of people talk hate and the Internet proves many are recorded, but few are punished.

Donald Sterling is an idiot. Did he say racist things? Yes. Is he a racist? I don’t know. Is his mistress fifty years younger than him? Yes. Is he a pervert? I don’t know. Do I know people who have said racist things? Yes. Are they racist? I don’t know. Do I know people who have said anti-Semitic things? Yes. Are they anti-Semitic? I don’t know. The fact is that the taped conversation of Mr. Sterling proves one thing, he is an idiot.

I think V. Stiviano is a whore. Just my opinion of course, and to be fair I do not know her personally, but I think she is a whore for both fame and money. From her ridiculous visor, roller skating, saying she wants to run for President, and her conversation with Barbara Walters, this woman has an agenda and taking down an old man seems to have been her goal, so it would appear she did it.

Donald Sterling’s wife is suing V. Stiviano for taking advantage and manipulating her husband. I don’t know if the lawsuit was filed before or after taping of the conversation with Sterling, but there is clearly a vendetta. Did Stiviano think her lifestyle was in jeopardy so ruining Sterling’s life was an attempt to gain power? I believe there is more to this story than an old man saying his does not like black people.

Listening to Stiviano speak to Barbara Walters was funny. She was silly and inarticulate, appeared to be medicated, and was struggling to find things to say. This is not a bright girl. She is simply a pretty girl who thinks so little of herself she is able to sleep with an 80 year old man. I couldn’t do it, so bless her, but come on. Donald Sterling may or may not be a racist, but he is an idiot who got too close to his whore.

Stiviano calls herself his assistant. Not buying it. He did not get to be a billionaire by having this chick as his right hand. She is a mistress. She is also a hateful and vindictive whore who chose to bring down a giant, rather than count her losses and find a new senior citizen to get money from. She told Walters she thinks of Sterling as her father. Really? She’s not only a whore, but sleeps with a man she compares to her dad. Ugh.

She tells Walters it hurts her to see him hurting. Did it hurt when she released the tapes? She said a real journalist would not call her a whore or mistress. It doesn’t take an investigative journalist to know this woman is a whore and a mistress. A billionaire businessman is not hiring her to be his right hand. That is not happening. Perhaps she meant to say she takes care of him with her right hand?

There are some who think it is horrible for a woman to call another woman a whore. I am not one of those people. Being a whore is a job and I don’t have an issue with a woman making money for sex. I do have an issue with a woman who manipulates her power over an old man to prove her worth, and ruining his life in an attempt to maintain the life he gave her. She lacks decency.

I haven’t heard the entire recording, am not African American or a basketball fan. I am a decent human being raising her child to not judge anyone based on color, religion, or politics. What Donald Sterling said was wrong. I’m guessing however worse things have been said within the NBA. If you lose everything for saying something racist, I will know a lot of people who have nothing.
I find it heartbreaking that Alfred Wright, a young African American man in Texas who was tortured and murdered months ago, cannot rest in peace as his murderers are free because those who admire the hate are protecting the killers. If people went after the men who killed this young man in the same way the NBA went after Sterling, I would have a more faith in the future of America.

My point is there are people who hate based on color. It is a fact and believing racism is not a problem in America is naive. Donald Sterling may hate black people, but he didn’t kill anyone. He was just a hateful asshole. People are demanding justice, but there was no crime. Why are people not demanding justice for Alfred Weright who was killed because of the color of his skin?

I’m not saying Sterling is not racist and shouldn’t be punished, but people say horrible things about race and religion. I am Jewish writer, working for a Jewish website, and I receive countless letters of hate. Not based on my writing, but because I am a Jew. Hate stems from ignorance and Donald Sterling is ignorant. He must apologize and we must pray for humanity and keep the faith.
End of Ilana’s piece.

What’s your take on the writing?